When Same-Sex Marriage Hits Home
Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would be forced to defend traditional marriage.
My wife Mary and I caught our first glimpse of the battle approximately six years ago, when we were called to defend traditional marriage — in our own home.
A close and dear second cousin asked if she could bring her homosexual partner to our home. Naturally, this put us in a quandary. While we respected her as a person, we didn't support the lifestyle she and her partner had chosen, and we didn't want that lifestyle modeled for our own children. We were forced to take a stand — one that would later isolate us from our own family.
We were clear that while we loved her, we could not support her behavior, and we attempted to explain our beliefs to her through the Bible.
“Homosexuality is not scriptural,” we said, citing the appropriate passages.
“But slavery was permissible in Scripture,” she argued. “Certainly, you don't agree with slavery. I use a different Bible that I can show you.”
“The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual relations are disordered,” we responded.
“I can give you the name of a priest you can talk to who will tell you otherwise,” she offered.
“It doesn't matter what your priest says. The Church teaches otherwise,” we replied.
“If same-sex marriage is allowed, then what's to stop two men from marrying one woman or three wo men from marrying?” we asked.
“Well, I certainly don't believe in that,” my cousin said. “I believe in one person being committed to another.”
She chose to draw the line there. We drew it with the Church. Unfortunately, but perhaps understandably, our relationship has never been the same since.
In the end, my cousin told us that until we were prepared to allow her partner into our home, we should refrain from calling her, writing her or inviting her to our home. So much for tolerance!
The rift between us has since extended to my own family of origin with the majority of the family siding with the homosexual couple, setting us up as the outsiders.
“If they choose to live that way, it's their decision,” offered my brother.
When my cousin and her partner later held their commitment ceremony at a Minneapolis Catholic church, it caused even greater confusion and scandal among my Lutheran family.
Our family has become an island of faith amid a sea of confusion. Such is the price of discipleship in the modern age. Christ told us it would be this way.
Some years earlier, my cousin's parents had refused to allow her previous homosexual partner from staying in their home. At that time they, too, saw the behavior as wrong. What has happened in the intervening years?
Apparently wrong has become right, and right has become wrong. How quickly everything changes.
What's been “normal” for thousands of years — faith-loving families with multiple children — is now seen as anything but normal. Single-parent families, homosexual “parents” and test-tube children (all of which are oxymorons) are now considered “normal.”
Such thinking can be seen not only in the recent actions taken by the Supreme Court but also in those of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. Gene Robinson, the recently elected first openly homosexual bishop, has previously described his homosexual relationship with Mark Andrews as “sacramental.” What Anglican orthodoxy (and the Bible) has traditionally identified as sinful behavior is now called a “grace.”
But does calling wrong right necessarily make it so? Is there still such a thing as sin?
It was G.K. Chesterton who once wrote, “It's the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense.” His often-misquoted maxim suggests that when you do not believe in God, you will believe in anything — even that something that is wrong is right.
The lie that same-sex marriage is no different from a union between a man and a woman is like the many other lies our culture perpetuates — lies such as, “premarital sex doesn't harm marriage,” “sex between adults and children is not harmful” or “abortion has no lasting effect upon a woman.”
Once you become a parent you become painfully aware of the need for limits, for morality and for truth. Suddenly, there has to be a right and wrong. Otherwise all is chaos.
When toddler Electra goes toward the dining-room outlet with a butter knife you realize that there is a right and wrong. If you don't address it you're likely to have an injured daughter on your hands.
When 5-year-old Brutus hits his younger sister on the head with a large plastic block, there needs to be a consequence or he's going to do it again. There are rules that need to be followed.
Thankfully, the Church has laid a foundation. It's found in Scripture, the Catechism and the recent document regarding same-sex unions.
Make no mistake. Whether we're ready for it or not, the time has come for us to take a stand. Will we stand with the Vatican in defense of traditional marriage, or will we cave in to the cultural pressures that threaten to destroy one of the Church's great sacraments?
Tim Drake is managing editor of Catholic.net.
He writes from St. Cloud, Minnesota.